Diane McPherson

Diane McPherson

Retired Associate Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Honors Program
Faculty, Women's and Gender Studies



I was born in a small town in Maine, the first of eleven children born to two parents who always swore they wanted twelve.  The house we grew up in only had one bathroom, though, so that might have been my first exposure to fiction. My undergraduate degree was in Art,from the University of Maine (where I ended up in several creative writing classes with Steve King.)  I worked for a while as a printmaker, taught art in some alternative schools, did some publication design and writing in the PR department of a large teaching hospital, worked for a Counselor Education department. Eventually I realized I missed creative writing,and was accepted into Cornell's MFA program. There I earned the MFA in Fiction Writing (working with Alison Lurie and Lamar Herrin, among others) and the Ph.D. in Women's Literature. As these things sometimes happen, I started teaching Academic Writing at Ithaca College while I was still a Lecturer at Cornell, then got a tenure-track job here and stayed put.  I'm one of those writers who learned to read very early (three years old), got hooked on books, read indiscriminately and widely for years, and fell under the spell of contemporary literary fiction.  I write very long short stories, personal and literary essays, the occasional poem, and novels.  I live with my partner Marilyn in a house with a pond, surrounded by birds, chipmunks, marauding deer, possums, skunks, and (currently) three cats: Bogart, Neddy Bum, and Stella Luna.


  • Short Story
  • The Short Novel
  • The Regular-Sized Novel
  • Personal Essay
  • Autobiography
  • Women's Literature
  • Narrative Voice


  • B.A., Art, University of Maine-Orono, 1970
  • MFA, Fiction, Cornell University, 1984
  • Ph.D., Women's Literature, Cornell University, 1990



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